Koos Viviers, the curmudgeonly editor of the Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, sat in his leather-lined chair behind his mahogany desk and glowered at me. It was my first official meeting with him as the brand new and extremely nervous night editor of “his” treasured morning newspaper.

“Your job is simple”, he said. “You review all the news that comes pouring in from around the world, check what the news desk has done locally and decide what’s important to the people of Cape Town tomorrow morning. That and nothing else is what you put in my newspaper day after day.

“It’s as simple as that; now get on with it!” he said, dismissing me with a wave of his hand.

“And”, he shouted as I walked out of his office, “I don’t want any marmalade droppers”.

Koos was referring, of course, to stories so shocking that the marmalade spills off the reader’s breakfast toast as he reads, engrossed in a story set to shock or horrify.

So for over a decade, I rode the wave of news pouring into our lives on the southern tip of Africa; sifting, sorting and selecting the order of importancefor our readers.

Being a member of a global network such as the Public Relations Global Network, (PRGN) with close to 50 fiercely independent successful agencies around the globe as members, reminds me of life as a night editor.

Clients of PRGN agencies can, at the drop of e-mail, be in touch, in real time, with the latest successful communications strategies on any issue affecting their product. And they can rely, through their local agency, on the combined experience of agencies around the world to filter the chaff from the wheat to achieve the best results on their behalf.

Thus a client selling pizzas in Cape Town can immediately benefit from the hugely successful campaign mounted by members of the network in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix for a global pizza brand. Or a client in Spain or in Dubai in the UAE can benefit from the experience of and lessons learned in London or Washington by local PRGN network member.

With so much information and so many platforms and channels at our digital fingertips 24/7, it’s that much easier to devise and implement strategies that guarantee success. Not with hindsight, but rather with the benefit of up-to-date, current thinking. Whether you’re in New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Chile, Cape Town … or anywhere that there’s a member of the PRGN, we’re ready to achieve our clients’ goals.

More information

Wikipedia: Public Relations Global Network

Official Website HWB Communications: www.hwb.co.za


About Public Relations Global Network

Clients across six continents depend on the combined resources of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) to deliver targeted public relations campaigns in markets around the world. With revenues of more than $110 million (U.S.D.), PRGN is one of the world’s largest international public relations networks. PRGN harnesses the resources of approx. 50 independent public relations firms and more than 900 communications professionals to connect international companies and organizations with individual and culturally diverse markets globally. Visit PRGN online at www.prgn.com or on twitter @PRGN.

8 thoughts on “Lessons from a Curmudgeon

  1. Well, I’ll be sure to watch and make sure I don’t drop my marmalade in your presence, Mr. President. Glad you’ve taken the reins at PRGN and we can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish. We’re here on America’s West Coast to help. Cheers, David Landis, LCI, San Francisco

  2. A little peanut butter or even Vegemite instead of marmalade solves the problem… I’ll get right on the task of spreading the word…

    Seriously, the core to your message is not just availability, which you loyally provided for more than ten years… it’s about discernment. As an extended team of more than 900 professionals around the globe, PRGN members deliver local discernment against what sometimes is a much larger ‘big-picture’ view.

    Just as you thought diligently about what Cape Town readers needed for those years, each of us thinks diligently about what clients we serve for our own agencies and for other Network affiliates really need and expect… and, then, deliver against those expectations.

    Thanks for a great reminder of our collective purpose behind your leadership.

  3. As another ex-hack my first day at the august Sunday Telegraph is branded on my mind, my editor barked: “I never want to see a press release”! Go Mr. President, go. Good to see you and your First Lady fir lunch yesterday. Sara x

  4. Well said, Evelyn, and congratulations on your new role. One great thing about PRGN agencies is that in addition to being fiercely independent, they are even more open to collaboration, sharing and teamwork. The collective brainpower and experience available to clients is unmatched.

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